7th April 2008, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Distinguished Guests, MRC Secretariat Staff, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The past year seven months have offered several challenges for the MRC, not least because in that time we have been without the organisation’s natural leader, the Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat. For many of us – and I speak from personal experience – the period has been interesting, but ultimately also rather difficult.
The MRCS is structured in such a way that an executive with in-depth knowledge of the main sectors of our work, and a good understanding of the environment we live and operate in, is essential to the efficient running of the organisation. I am very proud of the way our management and support staff have risen to the challenge and coped during the last seven months, but at the same time I am extremely happy to welcome our new CEO.
Mr Jeremy Bird was selected by the Joint Committee on account of his excellent qualifications and suitability for this job. Not only does he have extensive experience of working in Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, but he has acquired on-the-job expertise in hydropower projects, environmental and social assessments, flood management, and irrigation. Add to this his high-level experience in utilisation of international waters, and research degree in water law and policy, and it is easy to understand why he is an excellent choice for this job.
Mr Bird arrives at what could be termed an interesting point in the MRC’s evolution. He will face many challenges in the next few months as he learns the details of this new position. It will not be easy, and I call on all of you here today to sustain the excellent effort you have made during my time as Office-in-Charge, to help Jeremy through the challenges of the immediate future.
I have no doubts that Jeremy Bird will in time prove himself to be an excellent leader of the Secretariat, but at the same time I would warn everyone not to expect him to wave a magic wand and make miracles overnight. The MRC is dedicated to improving cooperation in the use of water resources, and this requires sustained teamwork.
The last few days have been busy, giving Jeremy a hectic start to his career at the MRC. It is now time for us to relax for a short time and enjoy the company of our new CEO. I am proud to call on him to address the staff for the first time, and then to gradually meet us all in his own time.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Jeremy Bird.